The first Science Leadership Programme to be organized for early- to mid-career researchers and scientists in APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) countries took place online this year. The GYA fosters and promotes a model of science leadership which aims to impart an inclusive, collaborative leadership perspective, applicable in diverse contexts. Since 2015, regional Science Leadership programmes and global workshops have been established and held around the world.

The APEC SLP 2021 programme was organized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand, through the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) in collaboration with Sunway University, the Global Young Academy and the Asia-Pacific Economic cooperation (APEC). Top 24 young researchers from 13 APEC member economies joined as the inaugural cohort of participants. Participating economies included Brunei Darussalam, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

The programme involved a series of virtual workshops spread out in March 2021, facilitated by InclusiveInnovation. In addition to exploring collaborative leadership tools, participants formed small project groups and determined areas of work which they will continue over the next 6 months – 2 years, supported by funding from NSTDA in Thailand. Five key projects resulted:

1. Women in Water Research: Assess, Collaborate, and Engage (Win H2) RACE
2. Back to Work Better (B2WB)
3. Building Dialogue Capacity among Women Scientists-Policymakers in Bio-Circular-Green Policies
4. Building Gaps with Effective Science Communication
5. Empowerment of women in fisheries through entrepreneurship

The project groups will reconvene virtually in November 2021 and present their progress. A judging panel will score and finalize the winning team, which will continue its work and present final results at the APEC meeting in 2022 in Bangkok.